Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Why you remember names and ski slopes

26.11.2007
Researchers discover personal trainer for your memory

When you meet your boss's husband, Harvey, at the office holiday party, then bump into him an hour later over the onion dip, will you remember his name?

Yes, thanks to a nifty protein in your brain called kalirin-7.

Researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine have discovered the brain protein kalirin is critical for helping you learn and remember what you learned.

... more about:
»Penzes »remember »spines

Previous studies by other researchers found that kalirin levels are reduced in brains of people with diseases like Alzheimer's and schizophrenia. Thus, the discovery of kalirin's role in learning offers new insight into the pathophysiology of these disorders.

"Identifying the key role of this protein in learning and memory makes it a new target for future drug therapy to treat or delay the progression of these diseases," said Peter Penzes, lead author of the study and assistant professor of physiology at the Feinberg School. Penzes studied the brains of laboratory rats which are similar to human brains.

The study will be published November 21 in the journal Neuron.

Kalirin behaves like a personal trainer for your memory. When you learn something new, kalirin bulks up the synaptic spines in your brain -- which resemble tiny, white mushrooms. The spines grow bigger and stronger the more you repeat the lesson. It works the same whether you're learning a new cell phone number, skiing a new double black diamond slope or testing a pumpkin cheesecake recipe.

Synaptic spines are the sites in the brain where neurons (brain cells) talk to each other. "If these sites are bigger, the communication is better," Penzes said. "A synapse is like a volume dial between two cells. If you turn up the volume, communication is better. Kalirin makes the synaptic spines grow."

Kalirin's role in learning and memory help explain why continued intellectual activity and learning delays cognitive decline as people grow older. "It's important to keep learning so your synapses stay healthy," Penzes said.

Marla Paul | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

Further reports about: Penzes remember spines

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Stiffness matters
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Separate brain systems cooperate during learning, study finds
22.02.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>